On November 17, 2023, a Maricopa County, Arizona jury returned a historic verdict of $31,550,850 against Banner Health and Laurie Erickson, MD for the HIE birth injury they caused to Greyson Griepentrog. A video of Judge Blanchard’s court reading the verdict is below:
Suit was filed in 2020 alleging that Banner Health’s nurses and Dr. Erickson failed to recognize concerning signs that the baby was not getting sufficient oxygen. This included several dozen variable decelerations (drops in the heart rate due to umbilical cord progression), several late decelerations (drops in the heart rate due to placental insufficiency), and six prolonged decelerations (drops in the heart rate lasting longer than two minutes each). Despite all these warning signs, the Banner nurses continued to give Pitocin, a drug that causes contractions to be longer and stronger. During each contraction, the baby is also not able to oxygenate properly, which depletes his oxygen reserves. When Pitocin makes the contractions last longer, the baby is deprived of oxygen even further. Banner Health’s hospital safety policy on Pitocin required nurses to turn the Pitocin off when these decelerations and abnormal findings occurred. They chose not to. Instead, they continued to increase the Pitocin, making the situation even more dire for baby Greyson.
Finally, after 16 hour sof laboring, Greyson was born with Apgars of 1 and 1, meaning he was essentially lifeless at 1 minute of life and 5 minutes of life. That is very abnormal. The Banner Health doctors diagnosed him with a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury (HIE), which means his injury was caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. He was sent for cooling therapy, which is only used to treat an HIE brain injury. An MRI of the brain further confirmed the HIE brain injury.
Despite all this evidence, Banner still argued that its own specialists were wrong in their diagnosis of HIE. The 11-person jury unanimously rejected Banner Health’s tactics. In awarding this record-setting verdict, the jury provided Greyson with the resources he will need to get his necessary medical care for the rest of his life.